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Friday, February 25, 2011

It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare

It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (390 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

From a castle in the rugged Scottish Highlands to the glittering salons of Edinburgh high society, the playground for the rich, titled and undead will never be the same when ultra-correct gentleman vampire Lord Kettering and feisty witch Blaire Lindsay make sparks fly.

It Happened One Bite is a sexy and delicious story about redemption, twisted truths and a romance that had waited twenty years to explode into passion.

Blaire is not a typical woman of her times. She’s actually pretty special and unique. Her friends don’t think she’s odd, neither does her family. But she also has a legacy to live up to and she thinks she knows what she needs to do. After all, as is custom, her mother taught her everything she knows, right? This unexpected journey she takes to the castle her brother inherited proves that history is a bit skewed and there are a few little secrets her mom kept to herself. What Blaire doesn’t know is about to bite her in her cute and perky little derriere.

I found the heroine tended to worry things too much and that lent itself to the conflict. I like her spunk and her willingness to throw herself into the fray. Once she figures a few things out, she’s rises to the occasion and doesn’t back down, even when she should. In fact, in spite of knowing she should she goes where angels and fools fear to tread. Sometimes I was exasperated with her and other times I applauded her fortitude. Blaire certainly isn’t perfect so it’s a good thing she has her loving family around to keep her grounded.

Her family consists of her older brother, Aiden and her younger, Brannock. Siblings can be annoying and aggravating and the author depicted that aspect with vivid clarity. I rolled my eyes so often whenever Brannock interrupted and shouted and made Blaire guess certain things instead of just coming right out and stating the facts, that I thought my eyes would get stuck rolled up in my head. I knew the heroine loved her family but did they have to grate on my nerves so much? I mean, the wooing and cooing from those two sisters towards Aiden and the way he acted in return just about made my teeth grind. Gah!

Thank goodness there was balance with the hunky and tormented James, Lord Kettering. Oh, I liked him. I got the giggles when the state of his dress first was explored. How mortifying for him. I actually enjoyed reading about his background and how he came to be as he was. The absolute best was watching him fall for Blaire – and I mean that in the literal and figurative sense. Blaire shows him an interesting physical art she is excellent in and I enjoyed his reaction. James has a sense of duty, caring and resignation about himself. His ennui about the state of his existence is about to get turned upside down and around and its telling is quite romantic and sweet. Yet, don’t think that James is a sweet guy. He’s a man and a fighter through and through and his mettle gets tested.

One thing that really had me enjoying this story is when Alec MacQuarrie showed up. If a reader followed the other series with the Westfield brothers then they’ll remember he was heading up this way. If this is a first time visit for a reader, let me give assurance that this book can stand on its own. But I remember the guy and I’m also sure I remarked that I liked him as a character and I hoped to see him again. Boy, did I get my wish and then some. On the other hand, I bet he’d not be too happy with me. Why? Let’s just say that Alec’s visit didn’t go as smoothly as he probably expected. It made for exciting reading, a wonderful plot twist with a guarantee that his story is going to be an auto-buy for me. I never saw that coming.

And Ms. Dare did it again. The villains were nasty and one was truly evil, however, I never expected to feel any sympathy or sadness for any of them. I won’t say which one. I took me a minute to figure out why one of Blaire’s good friends was so sad about the big confrontation. And when I thought about it I got a pang in my heart. It was actually tragic and a wonderful bit of emotional writing that truthfully was genius. I know now what it means for Alec’s future and I’m excited and worried at the same time. But for one of the villains, it was epic. A reader simply can’t be unmoved by such a revelation. I actually had the urge to sniffle.

The happily ever after is exactly that. It’s happy, it’s satisfying and it’s not what I expected. Despite the sometimes plodding movement of the tale at certain points and the annoying habits of some of the characters who do not divulge important facts without a song and dance and make the dissemination of information akin to a complicated root canal, I was entertained and I did enjoy the reading experience.

It Happened One Bite is the unveiling of another exciting foray into historical romance flavored with paranormal spice. It was great seeing some of the previous characters from the Westfield brothers’ adventures and it brought a sense of community and continuity to this new venture. I thought the ending to be romantic and bittersweet. The mystery gets revealed and Blaire and James sort of get Aiden’s blessing, which had a humorous edge to it. I had a very nice time visiting with Blaire and James and can’t wait to find out what happens next. I’m glad Ms. Dare has created a new world for fans to enjoy.